So this week I’m reading Rage Against the Night, a short story anthology that was put out by the HWA with the charitable goal of helping one of its members, Rocky Wood (who happened to be president of HWA at the time), purchase an eye gaze machine* as he battled ALS.
The introduction to the book states that this goal was met a few months after publication, and the device allowed Mr. Wood to continue communicating as his condition deteriorated, until he passed away a few years later.
As to whether or not the goal of producing a top quality anthology was met, well, that’s a different question.
I had fairly high hopes for this anthology, as it includes a number of names I remember from my days in the HWA (e.g., David Niall Wilson, Ramsey Campbell, Weston Ochse Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Nancy Holder) as well as some names that probably everyone recognizes (e.g., Stephen King, Peter Straub). Unfortunately, aside from a few standouts (in particular, I thought “Tail the Barney”, by Stephen M. Irwin, was fantastic), the tales I’ve read so far have been mostly disappointing, for one reason or another. And don’t even get me started on the editing.
When they arrived at the crash site, they were updated on the casualty list. Eight dead, three wounded, and a truck driver with nothing but a scratch. Martin had long since stopped being surprised at the vagrancies of life. It was just the way things were. Still, he couldn’t help but feel sorry for the lives that had ended so abruptly there. All those unrealized dreams.
The use of “vagrancies” there might be some sort of satirical or metaphorical jab at the wandering ways of life on the highway. But I’m pretty sure it’s just supposed to be “vagaries”. If this were the only example of the wrong word, or an extra word, or a missing word, it wouldn’t really bother me, but there are multiple examples like this in nearly every story, which I find irritating.
Speaking of editing, I’m down to the last few pages on this round of editing Father’s Books, which makes it a little bit difficult to do the usual few sentences without including major spoilers. Fortunately I can reach in with the magic of copy and paste and splice together a few bits into something coherent, without revealing too much about who’s talking or what has happened before.
“To make the books what they are, one must trade. To trade, one needs an exchange. His exchange still waits for him. When he returns, it wakes up, like a faithful dog, hoping its master will bring it something. But those who work the other side of this exchange are neither dogs nor faithful, and they certainly acknowledge no master.”
Unreliable trading partners. He has them.